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Field service management guide
Quixy Editorial Team
June 3, 2024
Reading Time: 12 minutes

Nearly 20 million technicians work in field services worldwide, but only 48% use any software, and 45% say their current solutions are too slow. Is there a way to manage your field service agents in a way that increases productivity and sales for your business?

Field service management software is the answer.

Over the past several years, there has been a significant development in the availability of office management software for small to large businesses. Using this guide, you’ll learn what field service software is, how it can help your business, and how to find a provider that suits your requirements.

What is Field Service?

Field service refers to services performed on the ground. In general, the field team consists of field technicians, contractors, or workers who visit customers at certain locations. They repair or resolve customer issues.  Today, the field service industry is rapidly evolving. A business needs an efficient way to manage and monitor these field teams in a way that directly contributes to profit.

Online work, which was all but mandatory for a time, could be seen as field service. For businesses of all sizes and types, field service management and field service management software has never been more critical.

Coordination, dispatch, communication, necessary tasks, file access, and support issues may not be present with on-site teams when working long distances.

Field service management plays a key role here.

What is Field Service Management?

The process of managing a company’s mobile resources, such as field technicians and equipment, on client premises is known as field service management.

One example is telecommunications companies. Comms field service technicians carry cables, routers, and other equipment and materials outside company property to provide service.

To achieve this, communication companies hire field service managers to oversee the entire process. These managers must deal with a lot of moving parts, including scheduling, route optimization, dispatching equipment, and project management. Service technicians are empowered to do their jobs as well as possible by improving operational efficiency.

To deliver exceptional service, every field service team needs an FSM support framework:

  • Identify vehicles and resources.
  • Managing assets.
  • Scheduling of records and dispatching of work orders in an advanced manner.
  • A variety of back-office tasks, such as billing and accounting.

The FSM solution eliminates these issues by automating all the processes and keeping track of all your field operations. It automatically assigns tickets to field agents wherever a ticket is raised and helps in meeting customer demands on the go.

To begin with, let’s look at the basics.

What is Field Service Management Software?

By capturing location of a record, managing personnel, and maintaining visibility into operations, field service management software helps companies provide effective onsite service. These are some of the most common features of field service management software.

  • Management of work orders
  • Management of inventories
  • Dispatching
  • The scheduling process
  • Capturing Location of record
  • Analyses and reporting

In addition to saving time and money, these features help companies coordinate their warehouses and field technicians. By automating office functions such as scheduling, dispatching, and matching skills, the software improves field service automation (FSA).

There are three main pain points for field service management companies:

  • Disjointed communication
  • Scheduling tasks/reports
  • Techs who are under-skilled

Also Read: Key benefits of Field Service Management (FSM) Software for your business

Field service management Software: Why does your business need it?

Field service management software has many benefits. You or anyone on your team may benefit from a strong field service software solution if you’ve ever had trouble finding a service order, customer history, or form.

  • Are you having difficulty scheduling (and rescheduling) reports/tasks for your field workers?
  • When your workers have to pick up the latest work orders, parts, or information from headquarters, do they need to return often?
  • When you are short on parts, what do you do?

A field service software solution may be beneficial to you if you answered “yes” to any of the above.

Field Service Management Software Components

Capturing location

The location capturing feature of field service management software is one of the most significant components. You can capture location while the user is submitting a record.

An example would be technician A clocking in at 8 a.m., gathering her tools, driving to her first appointment, and getting to work. Capturing location through the submitted record features in an FSM app can help you analyze this data to improve how your business and team operate.

It was common for businesses to conduct this key activity using pen and paper in the past. Data was typically recorded by hand, entered into a computer, and examined for trends and discrepancies based on the output.

With a no-code FSM solution, you can easily track and control when your team works. The information is entered into your computer without allowing for user error, dealing with incomplete forms, collecting reams of paper, or spending hours entering it.

Also read: 11 benefits of optimizing your Field Services using No-Code!

A checklist for the process

The process checklist is another key component of the FSM software.

It is much easier to adhere to standard operating procedures when using process checklists for those working offsite, remotely, and in-house.

With comprehensive FSM software, your team members receive step-by-step instructions on what needs to be done (and in what order) for both regular and novel tasks.

For example, you can use an FSM app to create process checklists for the following activities:

  • The cleaning process
  • The compliance process
  • Resolving problems
  • Protocols for emergencies
  • A communication system

Management of Tasks

Managing tasks and schedules are at the heart of the most reliable field service management software.

You need to assign work, monitor its completion, and ensure that it is completed on time, regardless of whether your team works in-house, off-site, or online.

As an example, no-code field service softwares allows you to distribute tasks across your team and prioritize what gets done and when. This is regardless of whether the right person is just down the hall or across town.

With the task list accessible from any device, employees always know where they need to go and what needs to be done.

Communicating

Communicating with field service management software is one of its biggest limitations. You can make staying in touch with your remote team into a full-time job if you do it incorrectly.

The tool you use for the job becomes extremely relevant, whether you talk directly to your employees or send them information via SMS and push notifications.

FSM lets you send private and group messages and organize conversations by teams, locations, or skill sets.

You’ll be able to send and receive messages without missing a beat.

Connectivity via wireless technology

Field service management software must work anywhere, anytime, and on any device due to the very nature of off-site work.

With FSM, for instance, you can access it from anywhere that has internet access – wired or wireless.

You can also use field service management software on Windows, iOS, and Android devices, so you can stay in sync regardless of your device.

Field Service Software and its Impact

A big part of the success of many field service businesses depends on how they manage their resources.

More than 45% of field technicians lack adequate tools for their jobs, according to research.

However, many companies are still managing their operations manually despite advances in technology such as machine learning.

The manual process causes delays, reduces productivity, and results in poor customer service. Using field service management software, you can mitigate these risks and automate the entire field service process:

  • Enhanced Productivity: FSM software automates tasks like scheduling, dispatching, and routing, freeing up valuable time for technicians to focus on what they do best – serving customers.
  • Improved First-Time Fix Rates: Equipping technicians with the right information and parts from the start minimizes wasted time and return visits, leading to higher first-time fix rates.
  • Streamlined Communication: Both technicians and customers benefit from real-time communication features. Technicians receive clear job details and updates, while customers enjoy appointment confirmations and arrival notifications.
  • Boosted Customer Satisfaction: Faster response times, efficient service delivery, and improved communication all contribute to a more positive customer experience, fostering loyalty and repeat business.
  • Data-Driven Insights: FSM software captures valuable data on job performance, customer feedback, and resource utilization. Businesses can leverage these insights to identify areas for improvement, optimize operations, and make data-driven decisions for long-term success.

By embracing FSM software, field service businesses can move away from outdated manual processes and step into a future of efficiency, productivity, and exceptional customer service. This translates to a significant competitive advantage and paves the way for sustainable growth.

Practical Applications of Field Service Management

Field service management (FSM) isn’t just about scheduling technicians. It’s a powerful tool that streamlines operations, boosts efficiency, and enhances customer satisfaction across various industries. Here’s a glimpse into how FSM brings real-world value:

Optimized Scheduling and Dispatch

FSM software automates scheduling tasks, ensuring the right technician with the appropriate skills and tools is dispatched to each job. This eliminates wasted time and ensures first-time fixes, improving customer satisfaction.

Real-Time Visibility and Tracking

Track your mobile workforce in real-time, monitor job progress, and provide customers with accurate arrival estimates. This transparency fosters trust and reduces customer frustration.

Inventory Management

Maintain optimal inventory levels of replacement parts and equipment. FSM software can trigger automatic re-orders when stock dips low, preventing delays and ensuring technicians have what they need to get the job done.

Improved Data Collection and Reporting

Capture vital data during service calls, including job details, parts used, and customer feedback. This data empowers businesses to identify trends, optimize processes, and make data-driven decisions for continuous improvement.

Enhanced Customer Communication

Keep customers informed throughout the service lifecycle. FSM software allows for automated appointment confirmations, technician arrival notifications, and job completion updates, fostering a positive customer experience.

Industry-Specific Applications

  • Installation and Repair Services: Schedule appliance installations, dispatch repair technicians with the necessary parts, and track job progress for efficient service.
  • Maintenance and Inspection: Manage preventive maintenance schedules, assign technicians for inspections, and generate detailed reports to keep equipment running smoothly.
  • Utilities and Telecom: Streamline dispatching for repairs, track inventory of replacement parts, and ensure efficient restoration of services like internet or power.
  • Healthcare: Schedule home health visits or equipment deliveries, optimize routes for nurses or technicians, and ensure timely delivery of critical medical equipment.

These are just a few examples. From construction and pest control to cleaning services and landscaping, any business with a mobile workforce can leverage FSM to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and ultimately achieve greater success.

Considerations when Choosing Field Service Management Software

Integrating your existing systems should be the first step.

Examine the degree of integration between the tools you’re using now (and your future FSM tool) if you already use ERP, CRM, inventory management, sales, or any other aspect of your field service operations.

The majority of these solutions offer direct integration with major software and APIs, as well as third-party integrations (such as Zapier integrations).

It would be ideal if you securely connected your systems to a central database and reduced the number of data silos within your organization.

Predictive maintenance is another important factor. You want to reduce your costs, and this aspect can help you detect warning signals even before a problem occurs.

Also Read: How to Choose the Best Field Service Management Software

Who are the users of field service software?

Supervisors of teams

A team manager’s most critical job is coordinating technicians’ movements within and between jobs. Managers can ensure that technicians are matched to the right jobs based on their skills. They can also make sure that they spend their time efficiently moving between jobs.

In addition, they can ensure that every member of a team adheres to company safety protocols from a field service app. Team leaders will be able to see the schedule for each of their technicians. This will include a breakdown of the jobs they are responsible for, and specific tasks they are expected to perform. Team managers can access these views from a mobile app, so they can spend more time on the field instead of at their desks.

The Technicians

Many field service management platforms offer a mobile app technicians can use to access all pertinent functions. Technicians can receive notifications from dispatch, log invoices, accept payments, order new parts, check inventory, and schedule follow-up visits to customers through the technician interface.

As a result, the company manages less paperwork, the process of quoting, completing, and paying for work is faster, and misplaced paperwork and poor verbal communication are less likely to cause errors.

Staff members responsible for financial matters

Throughout the financial lifecycle, bookkeepers, accountants, and tax professionals need full access to all touchpoints. Streamlining and digitising the payment process through field service management software allows transactions to be searched and easily transferred to accounting software. As well as capturing location for all employees, FSM software can pass this information to payroll or accounting software, greatly reducing the amount of time spent on payroll each month.

Here are some features to look for:

  • Invoicing online
  • Payments via mobile devices
  • Quotes in digital format
  • Integrating accounting or bookkeeping software
  • Integrating payroll software
  • Features of the time clock

A Dispatcher

Dispatchers are the brain of a field service company. Moreover, they must juggle task urgency, timelines, and team schedules while scheduling reports/tasks for technicians. Automating and governing these tasks makes building a solid schedule easier for dispatchers. As a result of automated scheduling tools, dispatchers can also easily manage emergent situations and make quick decisions.

Here are some features to look for:

  • An automated scheduling system for reports/tasks on a daily/weekly/monthly basis
  • Scheduling by dragging and dropping
  • Calendar views include day, week, month, and job
  • Organizing technicians by specialty

The Customer Experience team

Most field service companies employ customer experience personnel to manage their customer support and technicians who deal directly with customers. To understand job status without distracting technicians from their current jobs, these individuals need access to the entire customer profile and job history. It would also benefit them if they could communicate directly and have visibility into the scheduling features. This would ensure that the dispatcher does not have to worry about that as much.

You should look for the following features:

  • Module for managing customer relationships (CRM).
  • Module for helpdesks.
  • Integration with email.
  • A scheduling system for tasks that automates the process.

Implementing field service management software simplifies your business operations, boosts productivity, and enhances customer satisfaction. With the right software, you can easily schedule and manage service appointments, track technician progress, and automate customer communication. This helps you save time, reduce mistakes, and improve overall efficiency, which leads to cost savings and increased revenue. When selecting a field service management software, make sure it suits your business needs and workflows, integrates well with your existing systems, and provides real-time data and reporting.

FSM Software: How does it work?

A field service company’s daily processes are automated by FSM technology.

In most cases, FSM tech solutions are mobile, which allows employees to maintain constant connection so everything can be tracked in real-time using the same devices they already use daily.

As an example, if you have a plumbing company with vans and employees, this is how an FSM tech solution would work:

  • As soon as a new work order is created, the system will alert employees and provide them with all the information and client history about it.
  • After that, it monitors which employee took which van and which tool.
  • At the same time, the central database shows the tools available.
  • Afterward, the following work order is sent to the available employees for the pre-selection of vehicles and tools.
  • The process involves retrieving, storing, and analyzing information about energy/fuel consumption, productivity, and first-time fix.
  • The relevant departments (e.g., accounting) receive the information.
  • Workers don’t need to do anything manually since everything is automated.
  • You can access everything with just a click. Can you visit a client? The job has been completed. Click ‘yes.’ Finish by clicking ‘finished’.
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Also Read: Inspection Management Solution: Achieving Operational Excellence

The traditional FSM software has been primarily focused on scheduling records and managing field service technicians. However, this is changing. Companies can now manage their finances and accounting with the help of FSM providers.

As more businesses seek comprehensive solutions to manage their service operations, this is a wise move.

FSM providers should integrate accounting for several reasons-

  1. Using them, companies can better track their service costs and revenue. For accurate financial reporting and assessing profitability, this is necessary.
  2. Invoices and payments can be collected more easily with accounting integrations. A service operation’s success can be determined by this factor.
  3. The financial performance of a company’s service department can be assessed through accounting integrations. To make decisions about expanding or contracting their service operations, this information can be used.

Accounting integrations are a must for FSM providers who want to stay competitive. In this way, companies will be able to manage all aspects of their service operations efficiently.

Using AI and machine learning to better predict and plan for service companies’ needs is also a key part of the future of FSM.

Schedule predictions can be improved with the help of data collected from field service technicians. As a result, companies can better predict demand for their products and services by identifying patterns in customer behavior.

Also Read: How to build a Modern Field Service Management Organization?

Conclusion

For most organizations with distributed workforces, field service management software such as Quixy is an absolute necessity for efficiency and scalability. With Quixy, you can build simple complexes, use an easy-to-use visual interface to model any process and workflows in just a few minutes.

To help you decide whether to switch to field service software, this buyer’s guide has been designed to help you think through the most critical factors. In addition, you have gained some valuable knowledge to help you through the buying process.

It will be easier for you to make the right decision for your company if you have the right knowledge and attitude.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is it possible for a small business to use Field Service Management Software?

Definitely! The price of FSM software can range from freemium ($0) to upscale solutions that cost more. Even if you don’t run a large business, you’ll be able to reach your business goals with these features. Anyone can use them and vary according to the number of users.

Q. What is the average salary for a Field Service Engineer?

Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, field service technicians earn a median annual salary of $57910. Among the highest-paid technicians were those in the aircraft and avionics fields, earning over $103,000, while the lowest-paid were small engine mechanics, earning around $25,000.
Repairing equipment in difficult or dangerous conditions often requires long hours for field service technicians. It may be necessary for them to work on weekends or overnight to keep the equipment running. Traveling to various locations to service equipment is also a common requirement.
Becoming a field service technician requires education, training, and certification.
Note– These salaries are subjected to the US and variations are possible based on the industry and country.

Q. What is the process of becoming a Field Service Technician?

Most field service technicians in the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing fields have an associate’s degree in applied science, although some companies may hire candidates without degrees.
There are also specializations in which you can become certified. Construction, electrical, and mechanical certification exams are offered by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). Having certifications may give you an edge when applying for jobs, as they demonstrate competence and proficiency.
Troubleshooting and solving problems are essential skills for field service technicians. Work in a variety of environments and be able to work independently.

Q. Do you offer software solutions for independent contractors?

The answer is yes since this software offers a greater degree of transparency. Your field operations are made easier by seeing all the resources available to you.

Q. What is a Field Service Management Unit?

Field service units connect to network devices, such as meters and distribution automation units. In addition to reading registers and upgrading firmware, FSUs are capable of performing RF configuration and network diagnostic tests.
RF signals are used to connect with these devices, which are used in hard-to-reach or dangerous locations. Remote troubleshooting and configuration of networks by FSUs reduce manual labor and improve the reliability of networks.
A utility company may use them to manage and access network devices in the field, but they may also be used in other industries.

Q. What is the role of FSM in inventory management?

FSM organizes everything neatly, displays it, labels it, and assigns it according to your preference. It is possible to make sure that the inventory that arris sent first is distributed firs

Q. How much does the highest-paid field service technician make?

Nuclear technicians earn an average salary of $63,000 per year, making them one of the best-paid service technicians. Those with skills like Quality Assurance/Quality Control can earn even more, on average, than nuclear technicians.
Other industries, however, like energy and utilities, and manufacturing, also offer high-paying jobs. Food equipment technicians, for example, make well over $100,000 per year.
Typically, the highest-paid service technicians specialize in highly specialized fields, such as repairing complex medical equipment or airplanes. Their experience and training are often extensive. 
Note– These salaries are subjected to the US and variations are possible based on the industry.

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